Stop Beating Yourself Up (Please)!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the one change I have made in my life that has had the single biggest impact. And as you know, I’ve changed a lot of things in my life!  I wanted to share it with you, because I see this behavior all the time. Not just with my clients, but with friends, family, everyone. We all do it.  And for many of us, it seems so normal and maybe even helpful that we don’t even realize we are doing it.

The thing that changed it all for me was establishing a zero tolerance policy for beating myself up. No longer “trying” not to beat myself up. Just not allowing it at all.

No negative self talk. 
No self blame.
No self judgment.
No being mean to myself.

We judge ourselves all the time. We do this naturally. We do it unconsciously. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us. I think part of us thinks it is for our own good, or will help us become a better person.

But being mean to ourselves does not make us into a better person! Check in with yourself and your own experience. Has it helped you become a better person? Really?  My guess is no.

And judging ourselves harshly, beating ourselves up, criticizing ourselves, comparing ourselves negatively to others, does not help us grow or evolve. It just makes us feel crappy. It just keeps us stuck.

The hardest part of this no tolerance policy is that when you catch yourself beating yourself up (and you will, because it’s a habit), you can’t beat yourself up for that! Kindly, gently, redirect your mind. Apologize to yourself if you want. Move on.

We all have that harsh inner critic voice. It’s a normal part of you too. It’s just trying to protect you and help you. You don’t have to be mean back to it – that’s being mean to a well meaning, if misguided part of you. You can just understand that it’s a part of your brain. A primitive scared part. You don’t have to listen to it. You don’t have to argue with it. I like to thank it for sharing and move on. ❤️

I know I used to be confused about self criticism versus self awareness. Certainly, I think there is great value in examining my actions, my behavior, my choices, my life in general, and seeing what I like and don’t like. What has worked and not worked. Where I wish I had been kinder, stronger, or done something differently. Understanding why I made the choices I did. Asking myself if I like the results. Asking how I can make better decisions in the future based on my past experiences.

Having curiosity and reflecting on oneself and one’s life is very useful. It won’t hurt. Self judgment and self criticism hurt. That’s how you know the difference. If you feel less-than, inadequate, embarrassed, ashamed, or like you’ve just slapped yourself – you’re beating yourself up. If you feel curious and interested – that’s self-awareness. See if you can make the switch.




PS – Anyone else out there with this experience? What has it changed for you?

How to Get More Vacation Time as a Doctor

On Facebook I recently saw a doctor post a picture from her 5 week vacation in Europe. It was a pretty picture. It looked sort of like this one.  But the interesting thing was the comment from another doctor: “5 weeks?? How did you get 5 weeks off?”

At first glance that sounds like a very innocent comment, right? How DO you get 5 weeks off?  Especially as a doctor.

But then I kept reading the comments. There were so many comments from other physicians about their lack of vacation time, being too busy to take vacation, feeling guilty while on vacation, feeling envious of this 5 weeks of vacation time. And on it went.

And so I want to answer this question. Because it took me years to figure this out.  But know I finally know the answer!

So how do YOU, as a doctor, get 5 weeks of vacation time?

You ask for 5 weeks off.
You decide to take 5 weeks off.
You don’t “get” it – someone doesn’t give it to you. You go after it. You make it happen. You create the life (and vacation time) you want.  This is one of those answers that is simple but not easy.

This requires a mind shift. A BIG mind shift.  And this is hard for doctors, really hard.

I get it. It was really hard for me. I’m better at it now. But I still slip into it sometimes if I am not careful.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

What am I hoping someone will give me?

What would make me happy if I suddenly got it?

5 weeks of vacation?
A week off?
No call?
Working 4 days a week?
An evening spent with my family that is not interrupted by work?

What are your answers?

Good to know.

Now stop waiting to be given this and start figuring out how you get this! You give it to you. No one else is going to give it to you, especially if you never ask.

And I am guessing you might be thinking “yeah, but ….”  and automatically listing all the reasons why this is not possible for you.  Those “yeah buts” as I call them, are important.  Write those down.  Those beliefs are the reason you don’t have 5 weeks of vacation.  Or whatever it is that you are wanting and don’t currently have.

Are those “yeah buts” true?  Really?  Are you absolutely sure?  Rather than using your brain to find reasons you can’t have 5 weeks of vacation, ask your brain to find out how you can have those 5 weeks of vacation.  Solve those “yeah buts” and get that vacation time!  Or weekend off.  Or whatever it is that you want and think you cannot have.

And if you need help figuring out how to give yourself what you want, or even figuring out what is it you do want – please email me at This is what I do. I help doctors work less and live more. I have figured this out for me – and I would love to help you figure it out too!

The Power of Pausing

The power of a brief pause is amazing to me.

When I am getting stressed, or my mind is spinning, or I am starting to rush around or worry about something, I try to catch myself and simply PAUSE.

Just for a moment I stop moving, I close my eyes, I take a deep breath (or three), and I notice what I am feeling and sensing.

Can I feel the ground under my feet or the seat I am sitting on, can I smell anything, what do I hear?

Maybe I open my eyes and just look around me and really see what it surrounding me.  Chances are I have been seeing something but not really noticing.

I might mentally ask myself what am I feeling inside?  What emotions or physical sensations.  I usually notice my shoulders are up around my ears and my hands are clenched.  I relax them consciously and take another deep breath.

I feel so much better.  This is how it feels to switch from fight/flight/freeze mode (sympathetic nervous system) to rest/digest mode (parasympathetic).

Try it.  Go ahead and try.  PAUSE.  It only takes a few seconds but can work wonders for decreasing your stress levels and helping you notice how you are living your life.  If you want to reduce or eliminate your stress, you first have to become aware of it.

If you need help remembering or making it a habit, set a timer or download an app like Good Habit Maker to remind you to pause and check in.

PAUSE.  It can reset your body from panic to peace in just a few seconds.



Please Stop Ignoring Yourself

Yes you, sweetheart.  Stop ignoring yourself.  Every time you pretend to be happy when you are not, you are ignoring yourself.  Every time you pretend everything is okay when it is not, you are ignoring yourself.  Every time you give on up on a dream, tell yourself it doesn’t matter, you are ignoring yourself.

When you ignore yourself, you stop trusting yourself.

When you ignore yourself, you look for answers out there, but those aren’t your answers.

When you ignore yourself, you tell lies.  To yourself and to others.

When you ignore yourself, you crush your soul a little more.

When you ignore yourself, the world can’t see you.  And the world needs to see you!

When you ignore yourself, you hide your gifts and talents.  And we need your particular gifts and talents.  Desperately.


So stop ignoring yourself sweetheart.  Start listening.  Start believing.  Start saying yes.  And watch how everything changes.  Like magic.






The Door

We all have doors in front of us every day. Unopened. Leading us somewhere. Are you going through the door in front of you today? Is it a door you want to go through? Or one you believe you “have to” go through? What would your life be like if you just went through the door you wanted to? Today. Right now. The one that is waiting for you.



Radical Self-Love

I am tired of being afraid. I know I will always have fears. But after 43 years of life, I am tired of letting my fear decide my life and make the decisions for me.

As a scientist, I am going to run an experiment. For the next 365 days, I am going to make all final decisions BASED NOT ON MY LOGICAL REASONING BRAIN (in spite of its Harvard-trained excellence), but based on what feels authentically and honestly good to me:

what feels fun?
what feels easy?
what feels joyful?
what would I do if I were not afraid?
what would I do if I trusted that everything I want and need is already on its way to me?
what do I want to do simply because I enjoy it?
is this a meaningful way to spend my precious time?

I believe in all of these questions. I believe I can have everything I want. But I have to start making different choices in order to create a different result.

I call this Radical Self-Love. Radical Living. Radical Honesty. Radical Action.

What would you do if you stopped listening to fear and started listening to love?

Coming Home to Yourself

Lately I have been so excited about the beauty and truth in poetry. Little snippets here and there keep landing on me like a cool drop of rain hitting my skin on a hot summer afternoon: unexpected, a quick shiver, a sigh of yes, a feeling of delight.

Today the line that struck me is from a poem (or blessing) by John O’Donohue, called On Waking, from his book To Bless the Space Between Us. The whole blessing is as follows:

I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

The line I am repeating to myself is:

To feel at home
In my life

This is what I want. This is the feeling I am after. To feel at home in our life is what I think we all want. As I go along in life, in coaching, in opening to myself, more and more I do feel at home in my life.

What is home? Good question. For me, home is belonging, home is feeling safe, home is love, home is everything good and true in life.

What is home for you? Do you feel at home in your life? How could you feel more at home in your life?


My Four-Leaf Clover

I find a lot of four-leaf clovers. Do you? Here’s a picture of one I found the other day when I was out running. I paused to change my music, saw a bunch of clover and there it was!

Four Leaf Clover


Do you want to know the secret to finding four-leaf clovers? You have to believe they exist AND you have to look for them!

I didn’t always believe that four-leaf clovers actually existed. I thought they were some sort of magical symbol or element in a fable, like a unicorn. But one day I was borrowing a book from a friend. She handed it to me, and then said “oh, let me take out my four-leaf clovers.” She was drying them in the book. That was the day I realized that they actually existed. I asked her where she found them and she said she found them everywhere. The key was that you just have to spend time looking for them.

The other day when I found one I had a lightbulb moment about belief and effort. I really reflected again of the lessons I learned in becoming a collector of four-leaf clovers: belief and the effort of seeking.

I am guessing there are things in your life that you don’t believe in? Or that you don’t believe exist? Or can’t exist for you? That there are things you know could exist but you don’t spend any time looking for them, or finding them?

What is the four-leaf clover in your life in which you need to believe and/or go find?

Telling the Truth

Lots of good thoughts today. Tell the truth. I am thinking about this a lot.

Tell the truth. Be honest. To yourself especially.

It is so important. Especially telling the truth to myself! Today someone asked about telling the truth being seen as criticism. The truth is not criticism. It is never criticism. It just IS. We may spin it with thoughts and judgements and make it critical. But the truth just IS. And even though it might be painful—it is so much less painful than the lies and the untruths that we tell ourselves and others. Think about it. Don’t you feel relief when you tell the truth? Even if it’s hard? And uncomfortable? Even if it hurts?

Where have you not been telling the truth lately?

Being Enough

I am having a hard day today and it’s been taking me by surprise and humbling me a bit too. Lately I have been so happy and joyful and feeling great! And today I have been sad and feeling a little grief or grieving for the past, for my old life, and career. And feeling a lot of uncertainty and fear and “not enough-ness” about the future that I am creating and whether I really can. Even though my life changes have been positive and good and I wouldn’t go back in a second, I never really let myself feel the loss and let it go.

Today was one of those days when I just want to rest and be quiet and by myself. And rather than argue with myself or tell myself what I “should” do or feel or be, I listened. And rested and walked and thought and tried to be gentle and kind to myself and the world.

I watched Brene Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame today—again—as they kept coming up over and over and over again. She reminded me that we all try and fail and try some more…and that “I AM ENOUGH.” I always have been and always will be.